Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 is a kart racing video game and the eighth major installment in the Mario Kart series, developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U video game console. First announced at E3 2013, the game was released worldwide in May 2014.
|Mario Kart 8|
Wii U packaging artwork
|Developer(s)||Nintendo EAD (Wii U)
Nintendo EPD (Switch)
|Platform(s)||Wii U, Nintendo Switch|
Like other games in the series, in Mario Kart 8, players control characters from the Mario franchise and participate in kart racing on various race tracks, using items to hinder opponents or gain advantages. While incorporating game mechanics originally featured in earlier Mario Kart games, Mario Kart 8 introduces anti-gravity sections that allow players to drive on walls or ceilings. The game features multiple single-player and multiplayer game modes, and incorporates Miiverse functionality and online multiplayer supported via Nintendo Network.
Mario Kart 8 was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and is the best-selling Wii U game, with over eight million copies sold worldwide. The game continued to receive post-release patches and downloadable content, including additional characters, vehicles and tracks, and support for Nintendo's Amiibo line of figurines. An enhanced port for the Nintendo Switch, titled Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, was released worldwide in April 2017. The port was both a critical and commercial success, selling over four million copies by September 2017.
The game continues the traditional gameplay of the Mario Kart series, in which characters from the Mario universe race against each other in go-karts, attempting to hinder their opponents or improve their racing performance using various tools found in item boxes. In addition, the game includes four different difficulties, which can be selected before beginning the race to challenge players. Returning features from previous installments include motorbikes, and twelve-player racing from Mario Kart Wii, as well as hang gliders, underwater racing and vehicle customization from Mario Kart 7.
Mario Kart 8's new features include anti-gravity racing, in which certain parts of a track can allow racers to drive on walls and ceilings. During these sections, players can bump into other racers or special bumpers to trigger a Spin Boost, which gives them an extra speed boost. New characters include the Koopalings, Baby Rosalina, and Pink Gold Peach. New items include the Boomerang Flower, which can be thrown to attack players, the Piranha Plant, which attacks nearby racers and obstacles, the Crazy Eight, which gives the user eight items, and the Super Horn, which can be used both to attack nearby opponents and defend against items, including the previously nearly unavoidable Spiny Shell. The game features 32 tracks, with an additional 16 later released as downloadable content (DLC).
Along with local multiplayer, Mario Kart 8 supports online multiplayer for up to twelve players, with voice chat support outside of races. Players are able to set up tournaments with fully customizable rules and schedules, download ghost data from friends or top players, and receive stamps for use on Miiverse by beating staff times and completing Grand Prix races. Mario Kart TV lets the player view replay data from other players, including rewind and slow-motion playback functionality, and upload highlights to the video sharing platform, YouTube.
The Wii U version is compatible with the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Wii U Pro Controller, Wii Classic Controller and Wii Wheel, while the Switch version can be played with a Joy-Con turned on its side, the Joy-Con grip controller, the console pad or the Switch Pro controller. Players can also use Amiibo figures to unlock Nintendo-themed costumes that can be worn by Miis.
Initially confirmed in a January 2013 Nintendo Direct presentation, the game was later unveiled at E3 2013. Some members of Bandai Namco Games were given special thanks in the game's credits. The "8" in the game's logo was designed to resemble a Möbius strip, as was Mario Circuit, one of the tracks in the game. Early in development, the idea of using a drill to penetrate the ground was considered, but was discarded for not being as creative as anti-gravity.
New features and enhancements are added via game updates. The first update, released in August 2014, includes rearranged post-race options, an optional course map on the game screen, a player statistics screen, and improved online stability. The second update, released in November 2014 adds support for Nintendo's Amiibo figures, allowing players to unlock Mii racing outfits based on other Nintendo characters. The third update, released in April 2015, added a new 200cc class, a first for the series, and additional racing suits unlockable via Amiibo.
Additional characters and tracks for the game have been released as downloadable content. The first is a free set of Mercedes-Benz-themed vehicles: the 2014 Mercedes-Benz GLA, 1957 SL 300 Roadster, and 1934 W25 Silver Arrow, which were released on August 27, 2014 as part of the Version 2.0 update. On August 26, 2014, Nintendo announced two purchasable DLC packs, with each pack containing three additional characters, four additional vehicles and eight additional tracks; some of which are based on other Nintendo franchises, including The Legend of Zelda (Hyrule Circuit), Animal Crossing, F-Zero (Mute City and Big Blue) and Excitebike (Excitebike Arena). The first DLC pack, released in November 2014, features Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach and Link as playable characters, while the second pack, released in April 2015, features Dry Bowser, Villager and Isabelle. Additional multi-colored Yoshis and Shy Guys are given to players who purchase both DLC packs.
Nintendo's launch promotions of Mario Kart 8 included a Limited Edition, which included a Spiny Shell figurine, and special Mario and Luigi themed console bundles, which included a hat, strategy guide, Wii Remote Plus controller, Wii Wheel and GamePad protector. In North America, Europe, and Australia, players who purchased and registered Mario Kart 8 on Club Nintendo before July 31, 2014 received a free download code for a selected Wii U game. As part of a promotional campaign with Mercedes-Benz, Mario, Luigi, and Peach were featured in a series of Japanese commercials for the Mercedes-Benz GLA, while three karts based on past and present Mercedes-Benz vehicles were added to the game as part of a downloadable update on August 27, 2014. In 2014, fast food company McDonald's released Happy Meal-branded toys based on the game's characters and karts.
|Mario Kart 8|
The original Wii U version of the game received "generally favorable reviews", according to review aggregator Metacritic. Considered by Eurogamer to be "the most vibrant home console racing game in years", the game was praised for its "exquisite details", vast sense of scale, orchestrated soundtrack, and gameplay. Digital Foundry deemed it to be "near perfection" with "phenomenal attention to detail", featuring a "magnificent visual package" and "magical playability". Their technical analysis attributes the game's smoothness of motion and overall gameplay, to its typically high performance of 60 frames per second (FPS), with the split-screen mode's effective 30 FPS nonetheless comparing favorably with industry standard. GameSpot generally praised the game, but criticized the game's Battle Mode for reusing the game's main race courses instead of presenting uniquely created battle arenas as prior Mario Kart games had done. The Nintendo Switch version received "universal acclaim" from Metacritic.
Shortly after the game's launch in the United Kingdom, it was announced that week-on-week Wii U console sales had risen 662% in the country, with Mario Kart 8 bundles accounting for 82% of the units sold. In its first four days on sale, 1.2 million copies were sold worldwide, making it a commercial success, and becoming the fastest selling Wii U game to date. Within a month of the game's release, 2.82 million were sold as of June 30, 2014[update]. More than 1 million copies of Mario Kart 8 were sold in the United States as of August 14, 2014[update], and over 2 million copies had been sold by the end of June 2015[update]. Worldwide, 3.49 million copies have been sold as of September 30, 2014[update]. As of September 30, 2017[update], the game has sold 8.38 million copies worldwide, making it the best selling Wii U title at the time.
The "Luigi Death Stare" is an Internet meme describing the automatic facial expression displayed by Luigi toward other characters upon attacking or passing them during a race, in which he gives them a disapproving glare as he goes past. It was featured in several viral YouTube videos and animated GIFs, and the phenomenon was covered by WNYW in early June 2014. Moreover, the meme was acknowledged by Nintendo during their E3 2014 digital event. Venture Beat praised Nintendo's handling of the meme, noting that "It was a slick way of acknowledging fan culture without taking it away from them." The meme was nominated for the Best Gaming Moment at the 32nd Golden Joystick Awards.
|2014||11th British Academy Games Awards||Best Game||Won|||
|Eurogamer||Game of the Year 2014||Won|||
|Reader's top 50 games of 2014||Won|||
|GameSpot's Game of the Year 2014||Wii U Game of the Year||Won|||
|GameTrailers' Best of 2014||Best Wii U Exclusive||Nominated|||
|Giant Bomb's 2014 Game of the Year Awards||Best Game||Nominated|||
|Nintendo Life's Reader Awards 2014||Overall Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Wii U Retail Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Nintendo Life's Staff Awards 2014||Overall Game of the Year||Won|||
|Wii U Retail Game of the Year||Won|
|The Game Awards 2014||Best Family Game||Won|||
|Best Sports/Racing Game||Won|
|The Guardian||Game of the Year||Won|||
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers (NAVGTR) awards||Original Light Mix Score, Franchise||Nominated|||
|Game, Franchise Racing||Won|
|Camera Direction in a Game Engine||Nominated|
|2015||Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' Interactive Achievement Awards||Racing Game of the Year||Won|||
|IGN's Best of 2014||Best Competitive Multiplayer||Nominated|||
|Best Wii U Game||Won|||
|11th British Academy Video Games Awards||Best Game||Nominated|||
|Nickelodeon's 28th Annual Kids' Choice Awards||Most Addicting Game||Nominated|||
|2017||35th Golden Joystick Awards||Studio of the Year (Nintendo EPD)||Won|||
|Nintendo Game of the Year||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2017||Best Family Game||Nominated|||
|Destructoid Game of the Year Awards 2017||Best Switch Game||Nominated|||
|IGN Best of 2017 Awards||Best Switch Game||Nominated|||
|Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards||2017's Old Game of the Year||Won|||
|2018||21st Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Racing Game of the Year||Pending|||
Mario Kart 8 DeluxeEdit
An enhanced port for the Nintendo Switch, titled Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, was released worldwide on April 28, 2017. In addition to the inclusion of all previously released DLC content, the port also features additional content, gameplay tweaks, and native 1080p graphics at a full 60 frames per second while docked. Battle Mode was reworked to be similar to that of previous Mario Kart games, in which players drive around an enclosed arena and attack their opponents, with eight new arenas and several gameplay modes featured. The Boo and Feather items from previous games returned, with Deluxe also allowing players to now carry two items at once, a feature carried over from Mario Kart: Double Dash. Six additional playable characters were added to the roster, including Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo, the Inkling Boys and Girls from Splatoon, and the only unlockable character in the game, Gold Mario, as an alternative costume for Metal Mario. The port also includes new racing suits unlocked via Amiibo, as well as additional kart parts for customization.
The port received critical acclaim with many critics highlighting the revamped battle mode as a welcome improvement over the Wii U version. It holds a score of 92/100 on Metacritic. IGN gave it a score of 9.3/10, stating that the game is "just as amazing in 2017 as it was in 2014". Eurogamer, referencing the revamped Battle Mode, stated that Nintendo fixed one of the game's only shortcomings in a "generous port of a modern masterpiece".
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was one of the best-selling games of 2017 on Amazon. It also became the first Mario game since Mario Kart Wii in 2008 and the first Nintendo game overall since Pokémon Black and White in 2011 to reach No. 1 on the charts in the United Kingdom. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also became the fastest-selling game in the franchise's history, selling over 1.2 million copies worldwide within three days. By the end of September 2017, the game had sold 4.42 million units worldwide.
- Mario Kart 8 (Japanese: マリオカート8 Hepburn: Mario Kāto Eito)
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